Tasty Good Toffee is a local favorite for sweets lovers — boasting mouthwatering flavors and some fun surprises, like toffee with a hint of ghost pepper. But that wasn’t always the case for owner Katie Becker, who started the business as a side hustle, or as she says, “more of a hobby to keep grandma’s toffee recipe alive”.
However, after she lost her job, she was forced to act on her dream of taking the business full time. Learn how she has moved from craft shows and pop ups to wholesale, and the critical decisions she needs to make in order for her business to grow.
Learn more at www.tastygoodtoffee.com, or visit Tasty Good Toffee on Facebook or Instagram!
The following is a guest post from Bidsketch founder Ruben Gamez. Check out his awesome proposal builder software!
When it comes to sales, attracting your audience, and building a community, words are a powerful tool. Used correctly, they can be your secret weapon. Ignored, and you’ll suffer the consequences in your sale pipeline.
This post offers you one proposal writing tip that helps you figure out what your clients want to hear. After all, the tactic is very simple.
Proposal Writing Tip: You have to talk your client’s language!
The fact is, your client has a particular problem he (we’re just going to use the pronoun “he” so we don’t have to go back and forth with he/she!) wants to solve, which he thinks about in specific terms. And if you don’t know what this problem is, and how he thinks about it — in other words, what language to use — there’s just no way to close a deal with him.
Nothing you say will interest him!
This probably sounds obvious now I’ve said it. And yes, these kinds of tips are obvious…but they’re really HARD to figure out on your own without someone else pointing it out to you!
Here are some do’s and don’t’s of writing in the language of your client:
DO talk about the reasons behind *why* your client wants what you’re offering.
DON’T assume you know those reasons in advance. This is a killer mistake! For example, say you’re a web designer, and a car wash owner comes to you for a new site. It would be easy to talk about the enticing modern aesthetic of the redesign you’d like to offer, etc etc. But…what if they actually want a new site because clients are having trouble finding their car wash on a side-street? What if they want a mobile-friendly site with a prominent map and clear directions? What if they actually think their existing design *is* enticing and modern-looking (even if it isn’t), and you just offended them?
Now, obviously you can’t know all this in advance — but it’s DEFINITELY possible once you’ve identified them as a likely client. Because…you can just *ask* them 🙂
And this gets us to the “telepathic” secret…
Use your client’s exact words in your proposal.
I know, this feels weird — you’re afraid they’ll notice and think you’re up to something. But in fact, quoting key phrases back to them is incredibly powerful. It’s a sales technique used by some of the most persuasive people in the world, and basically it works because people are helpless against their own thoughts. Using their own words to offer them something makes the offer virtually irresistible.
[Tweet “Use your client’s own exact words when solving their problem. This makes it personal.”]
(And even if they *do* notice, they just think, “Wow, they were really listening!” And that’s also a GOOD thing.)
DO talk about the *benefits* in your proposal, your client hopes to get out of what you’re offering. For example, if you offer photography services, your client might want you to make his employees (and thus his company, and ultimately himself) look good to others.
DON’T talk about *features* in your proposal without tying them to benefits. For instance, telling your client about how you can provide HDR photos might sound impressive to you, but it’s meaningless to him — unless you explain that it makes them look more vibrant and life-like.
This illustration is a great way to show you that benefits and features are two different things. You might want to buy a bed with all of these features, but what you really want is a good night’s sleep without your back hurting in the morning!
(Note: I discovered this on the Kissmetrics blog – they are amazing!)
Here’s an example to illustrate how to use client language in proposals:
If you’re doing an initial consult with a client, you might have some questions and answers that look like this:
Q: Why are you looking to create a new company portal?
A: We’d like to improve internal communication.
Q: Ah, OK. Can you tell me about some specific problems you’re seeing due to this lack of communication?
A: Sure. Every year in our employee survey, communication is one of the biggest complaints. Employees say that we don’t listen to their concerns and suggestions on how to improve the company.
So here’s what you might write in your sales proposal:
“Every year, the employee survey shows that employees feel like management doesn’t listen to their concerns and suggestions on how to improve the company. The new company portal is going to change that perception. This portal will…”
And so on and so forth. See how easy that is? Your client wrote your proposal for you!
Speaking your client’s language is something you can do in *any* marketing material (and you should!)– but your proposals are definitely a key place to do this, and it’s very easy too.
Getting straight to the point in your proposals, and talking your client’s language can lead to surprising results. According to our research at Bidsketch, you not only get more closed deals — you can also command higher project fees.
Who doesn’t love free proposal templates?
Bidsketch is a quick and easy tool that will help you make this strategy a consistent process. Check out the proposal creation tool at Bidsketch.com. There you can also access dozens of free proposal templates (yay!) and get a free trial to see how it can benefit your business and your sales process.
Create professional looking client proposals in half the time. Win more projects with online proposal software, Bidsketch.
About Ruben, founder of Bidsketch
Originally a software developer, Ruben bootstrapped Bidsketch while working full time and was quickly able to grow it into a profitable business. He spent several years working for a billion dollar payroll company. There he helped build and manage a custom proposal system that was used to regularly win seven and eight figure deals.
After learning about the psychology behind closing large deals and helping friends with their client meetings, he decided to make it his mission to take away the pain from the proposal process.
This last weekend, thousands of runners did something crazy.
We piled into vehicles and drove to Omaha, NE, where we proceeded to run 78 miles from one city to another.
Called the “Market to Market Relay,” or M2M, this event has grown in size and popularity since it first launched 6 years ago, to be the largest day-long running relay in the world. Complete with costumes ranging from toy story to duck dynasty to hot dogs, mustard, and ketchup (there was no way we were going to let those wieners pass us), there’s a lot we can learn from the M2M Relay. In fact, I think marketers everywhere should run 78 miles to see why this race has become my favorite case study for marketing at its finest.
Why? Let me tell you.
1. They understand their target audience.
The market to market relay started as an idea, by people who love running. Meaning….the crazy ones. If you don’t like heading out for a run in the rain, or the snow, this isn’t you. If you get a little weather-shy when it comes to putting in the miles, you probably aren’t a “runner.” This race takes place every fall, and it’s been graced by the presence of all types of weather, not to mention, sweaty smelly people, piled into one vehicle for more than 12 hours a day.
The fierce understanding of their target audience allows them to get their message out through key influencers. It allows them to have a specialized focus in terms of marketing dollars. Many companies spend their time trying to appeal to everyone. M2M demonstrates that when it comes to target audience, less is more.
2. Their sponsorship opportunities just make sense.
When you look at the list of sponsors for the market to market relay, you stop and think – “Wow, what a great sponsor.” Example? Nebraska Orthopaedic Hospital. As the title sponsor, their logo is on the t-shirts, the outstanding bar glasses you get at the finish, plus every single email and communication piece that is sent on behalf of the organization. Brilliant. And good luck getting those doctors to give that opportunity so some other health group can slap their name on it. That’s marketing gold.
So, what if your company doesn’t have a sponsorship opportunity like this? Ask around. You might be able to get in on the ground level of something new. If Nebraska Orthopaedic would have waited until the race grew to 500 teams, they never would have had the opportunity.
3. They know that organization trumps everything else.
When it comes to an event that involves more than two people, organizational finesse becomes the linchpin. An outstanding customer experience is the fuel for word-of-mouth marketing and a great event experience is driven by world-class logistics. Moving through 21 different relay exchange points, directing traffic, moving runners, dealing with health crises and weather snafus, and the general public who doesn’t understand why people are running down the road like ants looking for a picnic, takes A LOT of organization and juggling.
And though I’m sure they still receive their fair share of complaints (because you can’t please everyone), M2M continues to rank near the top of runners’ yearly race lists and bucket lists of the middle-aged and newly active. Marketing, along with sales, operations and customer service should always take a good hard look at the logistics. Lack of follow-through and poor detail management can sabotage even the best marketing plans (don’t believe me? Read about the Vegas half-marathon nightmare. I was there – it was not good!).
4. They embrace technology.
Released this year, the M2M Relay App lets you review the stages, input your time and track your estimated finish time. Though our team had some issues with the app, this was an excellent step for the race organizers. We hope it was only our team, but even if it did have kinks, I’m sure they’ll work it out for next year.
Email communication was always very clear and timely, keeping runners and captains informed about race details. Online registration and timely reporting of information also lived up to our demand for instant gratification, where we want to know what time we finished, what place we were, how we measured up to the hot dog, ketchup and mustard guys, and whether or not that meant we should kick someone off the team and ask someone faster to join us next year (kidding…sort of).
5. They make a big deal out of everyone.
We all can’t be the runners that pull off 10 miles at a 5:30 pace. Some of us don’t look good in short shorts and runners tanks. Others don’t know what it means to pace themselves because this is honestly their first rodeo. But that’s ok. M2M planners and volunteers celebrate everyone – simply running 4.5 miles uphill with the wind in your face is worth celebrating. The hundreds of volunteers that help with the event, from Omaha, to Platteview, to Louisville, to Eagle, to Lincoln, are a source of constant encouragement. Many people volunteer with the event simply to be part of the race atmosphere.
Marketers should take a few minutes to observe these M2M volunteers – specifically a gal directing traffic at the exchange in Eagle, Nebraska. She managed her volunteer role like a BOSS and teams left laughing and encouraged by her enthusiasm. If more companies would take the time to celebrate their employees for the little things they did to help the customer, the customers would have a much better experience.
As you can tell, it was a fun experience – but it has left me thinking about a myriad of things that impact the “marketing” of a brand. I know we’ve talked about this, but it’s more than email marketing, direct mail and social media.
Not sure you agree? Well, perhaps you need to run the 78 miles next year. Or at least 10 of them. It just might change your outlook on marketing.